Where does any novelist pick up any character? For the most part, in town, to be sure. Every great town is a kind of man-show, where the novelist goes for his stock, just as the agriculturist goes to the cattle-show for his. But in the one fair, new species of quadrupeds are hardly more rare, than in the other are new species of characters—that is, original ones.
Check to see if you qualify for a fee waiver that would allow you to proceed without paying any (or some) court fees. Every jurisdiction is different, but this usually involves filing an application or motion to waive fees, which a judge then reviews and makes a ruling. You will likely need to produce evidence showing that you cannot afford to pay court fees (e.g., affidavit, declaration, bills, bank statements, etc.). 

Like the self-transcendence account, our Study 1 outcome showing that self-affirmation increases pro-social behavior is consistent with the idea that self-affirmation fosters social connectedness (Crocker et al., 2008; Burson et al., 2012), but our Study 2 findings suggest that these compassionate feelings may be directed toward the self (and not toward a peer). However, further research is necessary to clarify this finding. In Study 1, feelings of compassion boost pro-social behavior, but in Study 2, other-directed feelings of compassion are not impacted by self-affirmation writing. A ceiling effect may explain this seeming difference; the confederate “other” storytelling video we used was rather high quality, and may not have solicited a need for compassion, thus explaining the lack of variability in participants’ responses across conditions. Or, it’s possible that watching a peer’s slightly embarrassing video might not elicit a compassionate vs. judgmental response comparable to feelings of self-compassion vs. self-judgment in response to the self video. Future work is needed to establish whether self-affirmation also increases compassionate feelings for others in need, perhaps using different methods to compare self- vs. other-directed compassionate responses.

Do your homework and educate the court. It is important, at the outset of a case, for trial counsel to determine if he or she is litigating against a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “When the pro se litigant is really an expert litigant, the court’s sympathy for his presumed inexpertise diminishes markedly.” Scott L. Garland, “Avoiding Goliath’s Fate: Defeating a Pro Se Litigant,” Litigation, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Winter 1998), at 45, 50 (1998). A search of the county or state docket may reveal that the pro se party has actually been involved in numerous lawsuits and maybe has even been deemed a vexatious litigant. Armed with this knowledge, counsel is better equipped to handle both interacting with the self-represented party and convincing the court that the pro se party’s failure to follow the rules warrants sanctions.
Within the boundaries of applicable law (see, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 953) a judge may express opposition to the persecution of lawyers and judges anywhere in the world if the judge has ascertained, after reasonable inquiry, that the persecution is occasioned by conflict between the professional responsibilities of the persecuted judge or lawyer and the policies or practices of the relevant government.
According to Boston Bar Association Task Force 1998 report in every court studied by the task force, litigants without lawyers are present in surprising numbers. In some counties, over 75% of the cases in Probate and Family Courts have at least one party unrepresented. In the Northeast Housing Court, over 50% of the landlords and 92% of the tenants appear without lawyers in summary process cases.[40]
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Some experts, like John Pollock with the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, have focused on expanding the right to counsel in civil cases implicating basic human needs. Others have advocated for expansion of the right to counsel in lower-level criminal cases where the consequences – including obstacles to housing or employment, or deportation – can still be incredibly high.

access to justice admissions affirmative defenses answer appeal bias case analysis Case Manager civil legal aid complaint constitution court reporter criminal discovery elements of a claim emotions eviction evidence hearing hearings how to win in court judicial bias jurisdiction justice Lawyers We Love legal analysis legal argument Legal Bits legal case management legal research litigation litigation stages litigation strategy motion for summary judgment motion to dismiss oral argument pro se litigants pro se litigation Richard Zorza rules of civil procedure self-representation statute of limitations strategy summary judgment unbundled legal services

24Beverly W. Snukals and Glen H. Sturtevant Jr., “Pro Se Litigation: Best Practices from a Judge’s Perspective,” University of Richmond Law Review 42 (2) (2007) [LINK]; United States District Court, District of Minnesota, and the Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, The Pro Se Project (Minneapolis: United States District Court, District of Minnesota, and Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, 2011), 2 [LINK]; and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Trial Court, Probate and Family Court Department, Pro Se Litigants: The Challenge of the Future (Boston: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1997), 16 [LINK].
To test the hypothesis that self-affirmation increases pro-social behavior, participants provided two measures of helping behavior (see Measures). First, participants completed an indirect survey measure of hypothetical charitable giving. Second, participants’ helping behavior was measured in response to a surprise shelf-collapse incident that occurred while they completed some final questionnaires. The experimenter waited 1 min after the completion of these questionnaires before re-entering the room to pick up the fallen shelf items if participants had not already done so. Participants were then probed for suspicion (none were suspicious about the shelf-collapse incident), debriefed, and dismissed.
This constraint exists because lawsuit funding companies need a mechanism to be repaid when the case settles. As a trustee, the attorney after paying him or herself, is "trusted" to honor the existing liens on the case. In general a lawsuit funding company will not be comfortable relying on a plaintiff to repay without an attorney having the responsibility to distribute case proceeds.
The United States ranks an abysmal twenty-five out of thirty-five countries with similar per capita incomes, measured on accessibility and affordability of civil justice in the Rule of Law Index prepared by the World Justice Project.25 The United States consistently fails to provide accessible and adequate legal assistance, and will continue to do so as long as an adversarial system continues and until much more civil legal service funding is provided. Judges foresee the continued erosion of public confidence in the justice system as it becomes increasingly beleaguered by unrepresented litigants, overtaxed courts, and overwhelmed judges.
Let’s say you go to court and a court reporter is not present. You argue very strong points against an attorney with weak ones. Despite both the law and facts on your side, you lose. Think an appellate court will understand what went wrong and overturn the ruling? Probably not. Appellate courts will find many excuses not to overturn a lower court ruling. Without a court reporter’s transcript, an appellate court will say that the lower court was in the best position to evaluate the arguments made. Then, they’ll let the lower court decision stand. A court reporter, on the other hand, creates an official record of proceedings that can be sent to the appellate court. In the lower court, the simple presence of a court reporter greatly curtails judicial bias and bad behavior from lawyers. With that, you have a better chance of getting a fair hearing. To learn more about the effect of court reporters on judges and lawyers see, A Court Reporter Stops All Foolishness.
1. If you don't know where your federal court is, look under "U.S. Government Offices ‹ U.S. Courts" in the blue or green pages of your phone book. When you find out which district court is yours, add it at the top of your pro se where it reads, "in the United States District Court for the [ ] district of [your state]." Don't worry yet about the Civil Action No. The clerk will give that to you at your district court office.
Pitting pro se litigants against lawyers as if lawyers are enemies does far more disservice to your clients. I looked at your website, and I see that you toe a fine line between practicing without a license and simply giving pro se litigants enough rope to hang themselves. I understand that it’s a gimmick to make money for yourselves, but the nobler thing to do would be to direct these people to pro bono services instead of guiding them to shooting themselves in the foot by acting like the opposing party’s lawyer is out to get them and that what they don’t understand about the practice of law is somehow a trick or deception.
One of the biggest mistakes pro se litigants make is not doing research. Lawyers count on pro se litigants’ ignorance of the law to win cases. The less a pro se litigant knows, the shorter the litigation process will be. A lawyer can buy a $7000 debt for $700 and pay a $100 fee to sue. Thirty or so days later, he wins a default judgment or a one-hearing judgment. He then has the right to collect the full $7000, the $100 court fee, and case-related costs. He’ll have to collect the money himself, but lawyers wouldn’t buy debt if the practice never paid off. Facing a pro se litigant in court pays off for lawyers almost all the time. Whether you’re a plaintiff or a defendant, you don’t want to get knocked out early because of lack of knowledge. Learn the laws relevant to your case. The more you know, the longer you’ll stay and the less chance a lawyer will have a windfall at your expense.
This is similar to the previous point. In a post, What Kind Of Pro Se Litigant Are You?, I discussed five types of pro se litigants. The least effective is one lacking in confidence. Many pro se litigants lose early by simply not showing up for court. Many more lose at the first hearing. With a lawyer on the opposite side and a robed judge on the bench, the average person is bound to feel as if they can’t succeed. Don’t let that feeling rule your actions. Lacking confidence, you might be tempted to ask advice of your opponent’s lawyer. He’s not your friend. Where a judge is concerned, ask for clarification about a ruling, not for advice about your case. In the face of uncertainty and fear, don’t give up. Keep going and learn. Simply getting to the next step, the next hearing, or the next motion is a victory. The longer you stay in, the more confident you’ll be.
Show your best face to the world--whatever that means for you. When you feel comfortable in your own skin, everyone knows. If you like to go out in a dress and heels, or a well-cut suit, go for it. If you prefer to stay comfy in a pair of sweats and flip-flops, there's no shame in that either. Dress how you want. The You'll undoubtedly exude confident, assuring energy.
He is able to do this because he embodies a particular contradiction regarding the need for trust in a market society. At both ends of the novel, in the confidence-man’s first and last guises, he meets a barber who has a sign saying NO TRUST—that is, pay up now, not tomorrow. This message is what the confidence-man argues against. One must always trust, extend it to all the world, he says. As a deaf-mute in the first chapter, he holds up a series of Corinthians-derived morals on charity—“Charity thinketh no evil” and so on—which strike the watching crowd as bizarre, while the barber’s sign elicits no comment. It’s clear why a barber who cut hair on credit would be risking a close shave. In his final costume, that of a garishly dressed and pompous universalist “Cosmopolitan,” he strikes up an argument with the barber. “Better cold lather, barber, than a cold heart. Why that cold sign?” One must trust mankind, he says.
But that shouldn't make a difference, as all cases are to be judged on their merits, not by the persons who bring them. By law, every federal judge must take an oath affirming to "administer justice without respect to person, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich," and to "faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as judge under the Constitution and laws of the United States."

Participants were told that the purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of mood on language use. Participants completed a two-part self-affirmation manipulation and a pre- and post-affirmation state affect checklist. Following standard procedures for manipulating self-affirmation (Cohen et al., 2006; McQueen and Klein, 2006), participants rank-ordered a list of 11 values (e.g., artistic skills, independence) in terms of their personal importance. Participants were then randomly assigned to write for 3 min about their top-ranked value and why it was personally meaningful (self-affirmation condition) or why their bottom-ranked value might be important to someone else (control condition). Affirmation and control writing sheets were pre-randomized and administered so that only subject number and instructions were visible to experimenters, thus blinding them to study condition.
Or at least R.I.P. for non-lawyer pro se litigants. Just when you thought the Supreme Court season had finally come to a close, the Court released a new rule book this morning. It’s 80 pages long and mostly a rehash, but the addition of Rule 28.8 garnered some attention for finally closing a door on the practice of non-lawyers arguing before the Court.

(2) A judge may serve as an officer, director, active partner, manager, advisor, or employee of a business only if the business is closely held and controlled by members of the judge’s family. For this purpose, “members of the judge’s family” means persons related to the judge or the judge’s spouse within the third degree of relationship as defined in Canon 3C(3)(a), any other relative with whom the judge or the judge’s spouse maintains a close familial relationship, and the spouse of any of the foregoing.

A judge may engage in extrajudicial activities, including law-related pursuits and civic, charitable, educational, religious, social, financial, fiduciary, and governmental activities, and may speak, write, lecture, and teach on both law-related and nonlegal subjects. However, a judge should not participate in extrajudicial activities that detract from the dignity of the judge’s office, interfere with the performance of the judge’s official duties, reflect adversely on the judge’s impartiality, lead to frequent disqualification, or violate the limitations set forth below.


Don’t you think consistency requires that you should either say ‘I have confidence in all men,’ and take down your notification; or else say, ‘I suspect all men,’ and keep it up."...To say that strangers are not to be trusted, does not that imply something like saying that mankind is not to be trusted; for the mass of mankind, are they not necessarily strangers to each individual man?

Expert witnesses: If your case requires an expert witness, that could cost hundreds of dollars per hour.  You will need to pay the expert for her time reviewing any materials, writing a report, and preparing for and testifying at depositions and trial. Some experts also require payment for travel costs, parking, mileage, and hotel accommodations, if necessary.


The Connecticut Supreme Court narrowed criminal defendant's right to self representation, stating that "we are free to adopt for mentally ill or mentally incapacitated defendants who wish to represent themselves at trial a competency standard that differs from the standard for determining whether such a defendant is competent to stand trial". A Senior Assistant State's Attorney explained that the new standard essentially allows judges to consider whether the defendants are competent enough to perform the skills needed to defend themselves, including composing questions for voir dire and witnesses.[38][39]
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